Thursday, January 28, 2010

Frito Bandito

Frito Lay had a drew up some controversy with the Latino community with their Frito Bandito character. During that time, Eli Wallach played Tuco the bandito in 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly'. Wallach also played a bandito in 'The Magnificent Seven'. I can't help but think that it was Wallach that gave the Frito ad agency team the idea.

Personally, I liked the little Frito Bandito fellow. I remember the song and I even collected the erasers when I was a kid.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Highway Patrol

Highway Patrol starred a big man with a big voice - Broderick Crawford.  No one on the wrong side of the law wanted to have this guy in your rear view mirror.  What was it about that large highway cop with the intimidating gruff voice that we baby-boomers loved?  Maybe it was the idea that it gave us an assurance that there were tough guys out there keeping our streets safe.

I remember Broderick Crawford playing in some great rolls in movies such as: 'Born Yesterday', 'All The Kings Men', and 'Between Heaven & Hell').  IMDB shows that Crawford kept acting until his death in 1986.  I do remember seeing him play his old Highway Patrol character Chief Dan Mathews on a hilarious episode of Saturday Night Live in the late seventies (with the original SNL cast).  I also recall Broderick on an episode of CHiPS in the early 80's.

"My trademarks are a hoarse, grating voice and the face of a retired pugilist: small narrowed eyes set in puffy features which look as though they might, years ago, have lost on points."
-Broderick Crawford

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Gumby's dead damn it

Art Clokey passed away.  He's known by all of us babyboomers by his work with claymation. Art was the creator of Gumby that started as film shorts for 'The Howdy Doody Show'.  The character became so popular that Gumby got his own show, 'Gumby Adventures'.  Art was later hired by the The Lutheran Church to create and produce Davey & Goliath.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

a drunk and a cripple

I found the movie 'Rio Bravo' (1958) in the new $4.00 bin at Wal-Mart a few nights ago.  Among the $4.00 DVD finds were 'God's & Generals' and 'Last Man Standing'.  How cool is that?

Last night I watched Rio Bravo for the first time in a long time.  The disc was released by TCM, and ol' Ted was more than generous with plenty of special features.  Among the Special Features was an interview with Howard Hawks who talked about his entire career.

In the interview Hawks revealed that Rio Bravo was a response to Fred Zinnemann's  'High Noon' (1952).  Both Howard Hawks and John Wayne did not like the idea of a sheriff (played by Gary Cooper) going around begging townspeople for help when the bad guys were coming to town.  There is a scene in Rio Bravo where Ward Bond's character tries to offer help to John T. Chance (John Wayne).  At that point in the picture, all Chance had standing with him was his alcoholic friend (played by Dean Martin) and an old man with a bad leg (played by Walter Brennan). Chance refused help from his friend, even though he was out numbered.  Chance wanted seasoned professionals - not well meaning amateurs that would just get themselves killed.  Chance opted for professionals - in spite of their obvious disadvantages.

Another difference is that 'High Noon' used tons of close-ups.  It is after all the movie that Sergio Leone was heavily influenced - started using all those extreme close-ups for his spaghetti westerns.  Howard Hawks used very few close-ups in Rio Bravo - two in fact.  Both movies are polar opposites in approach - yet both movies I consider pretty darn good.

High Noon wasn't the only movie to influence Sergio Leone. Leone requested Ennio Morricone to compose "Dimitri Tiomkin music" for 'A Fist Full of Dollars'.  If you remember, it was the haunting sounds of the trumpet being played down the street at the cantina in Rio Bravo - the same lone texture applied to the dollar films.

Another interesting thing about this film is that even though this is a John Wayne vehicle - the story evolves around his right hand man Dude (Martin).  In Rio Bravo, bigger than life John Wayne, plays a supporting role in a movie in which he has top billing. John T. Chance gives his old friend The Dude a second chance.  Chance pushes his friend to sober up so he can man up to a tough predicament.  There's a lot of tough love going on in this picture.  It's recovery the cowboy way.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

the largest man by a dam site

Here's the finale of the 1957 movie 'The Amazing Colossal Man.' It's one of my favorite atomic horror movies of American International. The hypodermic needle scene is the part that I remember the most as a kid.

'Mystery Science Theater 3000' did a great job on this movie. It was the first MST3K that I ever saw. I still feel bad about spewing coffee in Michael Bynum's living room. Funny stuff. BTW, you can watch the MST3K Colossal Man on YouTube.